Knox Charter Petition group begins collecting signatures

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A group of Knox County citizens is pushing for change within the county government by collecting signatures from registered voters.

Thursday, the group hit the streets shortly after it won approval from the election commission to begin the petition.

Sundown in the City offered the usual fun, food, and music, in addition to the chance to begin changing Knox County's Government.

The Charter Petition Group was on hand collecting signatures of registered voters in an effort to get their issues on the November ballot.

Their issues are numerous, including one which isn't getting much opposition, and that would change the county charter to ban an elected official from helping a family member get a job within the county.

Eric Henry signed the petition, and says, "It just seems there's a good ole boy in government and I think sooner we can stop that and get back to accountability in government."

Commissioner Mike Hammond says, “People are tired of nepotism, people are tired of cronyism they want it stopped and this is an effective way of doing it.”

One issue is getting some resistance, because it would shrink the size of the Knox County Commission from 19 members to 11.

Bryan Moneyhum opposes the petition, and says, "There might be some districts under represented in a very serious way."

Gary Drinnen with Knox Charter Petition says, "The idea of shrinking the size of Commission is increasing the influence of the average voter."

Commissioner Hammond has concerns about the idea, and says reducing the number of commissioners would increase the workload for the group and potentially limit the candidates to only those who can work at it fulltime.

Hammond says, “If indeed it does become a full time position, it's going to be very difficult for people with full time jobs and careers to take the time necessary to fulfill their commitment.”

Regardless, the issues are still a long way from making it to the November ballot.

The Charter Petition Group must collect signatures from 15 percent of the county's registered voters. Right now that number stands at about 40,000.

The group has until September to accomplish that task, otherwise voters’ chance to offer change to Knox County Government will have to wait for another day.

If you would like to learn more about the Knox Charter Petition, CLICK HERE.

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